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A “Lunatic Fringe”? The Persistence of Right Wing Extremism in Australia


perspectives-on-terrorism-10-5Journal abstract

Right Wing Extremism (RWE) in Australia is historically persistent and contemporarily well-established. The persistence is not simply the consequence of an Australian-centric white nationalism, but is the result of international and domestic exchanges. This article investigates the persistence and appeal of Australian RWE groups. The first movements emerged in the 1930s against Bolshevik Communism, and quickly established ties with fellow travellers elsewhere in the Western world. While their influence diminished, their sentiment persisted in subcultural networks which also demonstrated international ties. RWE resurged in the 1980s, seeking to stymie pluralism and immigration. Some extremists travelled overseas, and formed connections with international counterparts. Their activities were suppressed by law enforcement, but the sentiment continues to survive in subcultural networks. RWE resurfaced in the decade prior to the 2019 Christchurch attack, largely targeting ethnic Australians and members of the Muslim community. Currently, the RWE threat in Australia is inherently tied to extremist attitudes regarding jihadism, Muslims, and immigration.

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